Debt Cleanse: How To Settle Your Unaffordable Debts For Pennies On The Dollar (And Not Pay Some At All)

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Debt Cleanse is a clearly written instructional on how readers can eliminate their debt. The text is succinct with footnote citations for presented statistics and examples. Numerous templates are given for recommended documentation and correspondence throughout the chapters. Further resources are provided on the associated website, www.debtcleanse.com, which provides additional resources, service provider listings, and community forums and support. The website also serves as a “marketplace” for creditors to negotiate with debtors. The book is divided into chapters that cover the different types of debt: mortgages, vehicle loans, student loans, business loans, secured personal loans, credit cards and unsecured personal loans, medical bills, and payday loans with a lengthy appendix for templates and other tools in implementing the recommended tactics in the book.

As someone who himself has carried millions of dollars in debt, the author speaks from experience with the intent to benefit others by sharing his knowledge. The book targets readers who already have unaffordable debts. As such, the book begins, at this point, without providing advice on how to avoid getting into debt in the first place, making no judgment as to how a reader acquired his debts.

The author’s purpose throughout the book is one of educator and activist, portraying borrowers as both victims and avengers. Borrowers are victims of corporate and lending elitists who abuse both the system and unknowing consumers. However, borrowers don’t have to remain victims, they can be “avengers, not offenders” and show their protest by resisting creditors and unite in their common plight in support of one another in their battle against overwhelming debt and hostile collectors.|

While the author states it is not his intention to provide information for borrowers to irresponsibly accumulate debt and avoid paying, the information presented can be used in just that fashion by those so inclined. The author’s tone can come across as blatant in his unconventional advice to simply stop paying. The basic proposed strategy across all types of debt can be summarized as 1) stop payment, 2) evade collectors, 3) forestall any final actions as long as possible using various procedural maneuvers and court actions, 4) search for any deficiencies in the creditor’s case to use against them, 5) devalue any property where applicable (e.g., car or home), and 6) negotiate a discounted debt, modified payment, and /or get creditor to waive any remaining debt.

I gave this book four stars because of the information presented and clear steps in guidance, but I stopped short of five stars because of areas where I felt too many assumptions were made or some statements were oversimplified. For example, the book assumes that the borrower continues to have some kind of income source that the borrower can then divert to a “settlement fund” to pay legal fees. If a borrower doesn’t have an income, then there is a suggestion of starting a business, but this is a simplistic idea at best and in conjunction with the cash-basis lifestyle that the author advocates once a borrower’s credit has deteriorated, I wonder whether this is a very realistic proposition for most borrowers who may already be in a precarious living situation. Also, the author advocates his recommended strategy over bankruptcy, but he does not explain why this is a preferred choice and what advantages are gained by using his methods over bankruptcy.

Overall, I still think this book very useful for its target audience. For those already facing poor credit and overwhelmed by mounting debt, this book can bring some degree of hope and feeling of control into their lives. I think this resource could be made even more useful as a reference by adding a glossary at the end of the book to include terms and acronyms used as well as a list of citations and references including the applicable laws cited and other websites mentioned. Another value added feature would be an index to specific templates in the book and appendix.


Reviewed By:

Author Jorge P. Newbery
Star Count 4/5
Format Trade
Page Count 416 pages
Publisher Community Books LLC
Publish Date 2016-02-11
ISBN 0000080420162
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue August 2016
Category Self-Help
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